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SpaRRCky flies: Student-built electric car cracks top 10 at Shell Eco-marathon

April 10, 2019

For the second year running, a team of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering Technology students from Red River College have taken their battery-electric vehicle — dubeed SpaRRCky — to Sonoma, California for the Shell Eco-marathon.

The team beat their personal best, moving from a 14th-place finish last year to seventh overall in the battery electric category. And while this year’s race was ultimately a success, it wasn’t without its challenges.

“Going into our first run was the most nerve-racking part of the competition,” says team captain Joel Turner, an Electrical Engineering Technology student at RRC. “Our first set of available runs had been postponed due to rain, which furthered our nervousness, but as soon as we got off the line it was high fives and smiles all around!”

Nerves aside, the team also had to deal with various technical challenges. During the first run, SpaRRCky’s cover came loose and the team’s driver (Samantha Sousa, a Welding student who also constructed the racer’s steering knuckle) had to pull over for her own safety and the safety of the others on the track.

“Once we got the car back, we quickly brainstormed and fixed the problem on the fly, got SpaRRCky back in line, and were able to make the next run,” says Turner.

Students with battery-electric racerSousa noted that the first run track was the most nerve-wracking part of the competition, thanks in part to the weather.

“The rain was pushing our time slot back and the pavement was slick. I also had not driven SpaRRCky on pavement yet, only in the gym as we still had snow in Winnipeg,” she says.

But the stress didn’t stop there. “After our third run, a housing bolt had become stripped and we could not attempt another run with the vehicle in this condition,” says Turner.

Thanks to the team’s quick thinking and a visit to a local hardware store, they were able to make the fix and move on to the next run and a seventh-place finish. Read More →

RRC becomes province’s first post-secondary to offer credit for Armed Forces experience

April 5, 2019

Red River College has entered into a new partnership that will help Canada’s veterans and current members of the Canadian Armed Forces trade the experience they gained serving our country for a diploma.

As part of the announcement, RRC signed a memorandum of understanding with the federal government’s National Advanced Placement & Prior Learning (N-APPL) program, which supports the recognition of military experience in post-secondary settings. Thanks to the agreement, veterans and reservists now have the opportunity to turn their training and experience into academic credits.

“The strength of Red River College is our ability to be agile in meeting student needs and the changing needs of our economy,” says RRC President Paul Vogt. “Not only does this partnership formally recognize military service, it allows the College to offer a broad talent pool for employers and open new career paths for Canadians who serve our country.”

The agreement makes RRC the first post-secondary institution in the province to formally acknowledge that skills, training and experience acquired through military service can be applied towards a college diploma.

RRC will pilot the project by fast-tracking veterans and reservists into the second year of its Business Administration program, with plans to expand to other program areas in the future. Read More →

Designer genes: College and partners launch new genetic mapping initiative

March 22, 2019

This week, Red River College became the first educational facility in Western Canada to unveil its own next generation sequencing (NGS) device, thanks to a new partnership aimed at putting the power of genetic mapping in the hands of the general populace.

Genome360 is an initiative launched by not-for-profit group Genome Prairie and a consortium of funding partners, with the goal of building a hub for genomics and phenomics capabilities in the province. Bolstered by a $2.3-million investment, the initiative aims to propel Manitoba to prominence in the genomics sector.

iSeq100 equipmentIncluded in the investment is the College’s new iSeq100, a small but powerful machine — not much bigger than a microwave — that allows for improved DNA mapping and could open up new developments in medicine and agriculture.

Designed for simplicity, the iSeq100 allows labs of all sizes to sequence DNA rapidly and with high accuracy. The equipment will provide RRC students with the hands-on training needed to excel within laboratories and to thrive as practitioners in this growing field.

“One of Red River College’s strengths is having the ability to introduce and train our students on new and emerging technology,” says RRC President Paul Vogt. “The addition of the iSeq100 will ensure that students graduating from RRC will have the knowledge, confidence and experience to meet the needs of industry today, and into the future.”

Also on display at this week’s announcement was a prototype Molecular Biology Interactive Learning Enterprise (MOBILE) lab — developed in partnership with Westward Industries to demonstrate and offer organizations access to field-deployable devices. The electric-powered MOBILE lab (shown above) provides storage, transport and sufficient workspace to bring the laboratory into the field or the classroom.

“The Genome360 initiative provides a unique combination of capacity and expertise for the wide distribution and democratization of advanced genetic technologies in the province of Manitoba and beyond,” says Dr. Simon Potter, Genome Prairie’s Chief Scientific Officer. “We look forward to working with the community to realize the economic and social benefits inherent in this exciting venture.”

Transportation trailblazer makes milestone $1.5M donation to Red River College

March 15, 2019

A transportation pioneer will help Red River College train the next generation of industry achievers, and ensure the viability of Manitoba’s skilled workforce for decades to come.

Jan den Oudsten — founder and former president of New Flyer Industries, and inventor of leading-edge transit technology — along with his wife, Maria den Oudsten, is donating $1.5 million to RRC, one of the largest gifts the College has ever received from individual donors.

Maria and Jan den Oudsten with RRC President Paul Vogt“I spent much of my life in an industry I am passionate about, and am incredibly humbled to be able to give back and inspire the next generation of learners,” says den Oudsten (shown above, with Maria and son Bob). “Working and living in Winnipeg was the best time of my life. Winnipeg has the best bus builders in the world, and it is my hope that with this gift that reputation of excellence can continue for many more years.”

RRC is celebrating the transformative gift by officially renaming its Heavy Equipment Transportation Centre. The 60,000-sq.-ft. training and research facility will now be proudly known as the Jan den Oudsten Vehicle Technology & Research Centre (VTRC).

The expansive complex was built in 2008, and was one of the first education centres in Manitoba to receive LEED® Silver certification from the Canada Green Building Council. Every day, close to 170 students at VTRC are trained in transportation technology programs such as Heavy Duty Mechanic, Truck Transport Mechanic (apprenticeship), Trailer Mechanic (apprenticeship), Outdoor Power Equipment (certificate and apprenticeship) and specialized training for General Motors.

VTRC also works with industry partners such as New Flyer to drive applied research in vehicle technology and development, and to support the transportation industry on energy conservation and alternatives (such as electrification), cold-weather testing and technology integration. Read More →

Coast Guard donates surplus helicopter to RRC’s Stevenson Campus

March 7, 2019

Red River College’s aircraft maintenance training got a welcome lift yesterday, thanks to the donation of a surplus Coast Guard helicopter that’ll help support the development of skilled aerospace industry personnel.

Today at RRC’s Stevenson Campus, the federal government presented the College with a Messerschmitt-Bölkow-Blohm BO105 helicopter — one of 10 such assets being donated to training institutions across Canada.

“I am proud that these Coast Guard helicopters will help develop students across the country, allowing them to have practical and hands-on experience,” said Hon. Jonathan Wilkinson, federal Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, in a written release. “These assets have a lot of history and are part of the Coast Guard’s heritage. I am glad that they will benefit generations to come in building high-level maintenance expertise.”

The copters were in service with the Coast Guard for more than 30 years, the first having been purchased in 1985, and the last in 1988. The fleet played an essential role in supporting programs such as icebreaking, marine communication, navigation aids, environmental response, waterway protection, science, conservation and protection.

The helicopter donated to RRC will be used as part of aerospace and aviation training at the Stevenson Campus in Winnipeg, where it joins a fleet of roughly 12 planes and helicopters, most of which were also donated by industry and government partners.

“They are teaching tools, and this hangar is a classroom,” said RRC President Paul Vogt (shown above at right, with MP Doug Eyolfson). “This campus is ground control, and we are steering students with a clear path forward to a rewarding career by providing them with the training, knowledge and skills that this fast-paced and ever-changing industry demands.”

“After 30 years, this incredible piece of equipment may be retired from active service in the Coast Guard fleet, but its next chapter and journey is just beginning here at RRC.”

Culinary instructors to rep RRC at showcase celebrating International Women’s Day

March 5, 2019

A quartet of Red River College instructors will join prominent chefs from across the city for an annual culinary showcase celebrating International Women’s Day this weekend.

Culinary Arts and Professional Baking instructors Chantalle Noschese, Kimberly Cooke, Lylah Erkau and Melissa Hyrb (shown above, from left to right) will represent RRC at this year’s Women, Wine & Food fundraiser for the Women’s Health Clinic (WHC) in Winnipeg.

The event — which takes place Friday night at the Manitoba Museum — was first cooked up by RRC alum Kelly Cattani (Culinary Arts, 2005), now the chef at catering service Bluestone Cottage.

Working with Janet Hamel, Director of Development at WHC, Cattani coordinated both the event and its all-female lineup as a means of benefiting the community-based clinic, which has supported women through health services, education and advocacy since 1981.

Come Friday, participating chefs will serve up a mouth-watering menu of canapes, which will then be paired with wine and beer tastings from local vendors.

Members of the RRC team won’t be the only participants with ties to the College. This year’s lineup of chefs also includes Culinary Arts grads Jackie Hildebrand (Hy’s Steakhouse & Cocktail Bar), Connie Klassen (Pizzeria Gusto), Melissa Makarenko (Resto Gare Bistro & Train Bar), Kristel Pastorin (The Grove), Tara Podaima (Little Sister Coffee Maker) and Chinnie Ramos (Mon Ami Louis).

Culinary students serve up victories at national chefs challenge in Toronto

January 31, 2019

In the immortal words of Guy Fieri, Red River College students Argie Garcia and Anthony Carino took the judges to Flavourtown during the Young Chef’s Challenge in Toronto last weekend.

Garcia (shown above, at right), a Level Two Apprentice Chef, finished in first place at the event, while Carino (at left), a Term 6 Culinary Arts student, finished second.

They were two of six student chefs from across Canada selected to participate in the challenge, hosted annually by the World Association of Chefs and Cooks.

Each chef was given three hours to create a three-course meal that showcased creativity, taste and kitchen organization. They also had to incorporate a set list of ingredients, including chilled salmon (appetizer), beef striploin (principal plate) and dark chocolate and tea (dessert).

“These two talented young chefs had world-renowned judges scrutinizing all of the flavours they built and every move they made in the kitchen, so to have them both come out on top is an incredible feat,” says RRC Chef Instructor Gordon Bailey (shown above, at centre).

As the first-place chef, Garcia will now have the honor of representing Canada at the World Chefs Congress, taking place in Saint Petersburg, Russia, in 2020. Carino’s talents also earned him an offer to join the Canadian Junior Olympic Chef Team in Prince Edward Island.

“Argie and Anthony demonstrated their technical skills and knowledge in the kitchen on the national stage, and they did so with such a high level of poise and professionalism. They represented the College and the province proudly,” says Bailey.

“To watch them grow over the last two years into the chefs they are today has been an incredible experience as a fellow chef, and as an educator. I look forward to seeing where their career paths take them – with this achievement, and as they build their craft in this business in the future.”

Paramedicine, Electrical Engineering grads earn Lt.-Gov.’s Medals for Proficiency

January 29, 2019

Congratulations to the most recent recipients of Red River College’s Lieutenant-Governor’s Medals for Proficiency, who’ll receive their awards as part of our 2019 Winter Convocation ceremonies on Feb. 6 at the Centennial Concert Hall.

Each year, up to four Lt.-Gov.’s Medals are awarded to RRC students who best combine good character, academic and technical achievement, and involvement in College and/or community activities. This year’s winners are:

RRC graduate Grace HartGrace Hart — A graduate of RRC’s Paramedicine — Primary Care Paramedicine program, Grace Hart is a big proponent of paying it forward.

Now 24, Hart grew up in Winnipeg, graduating from Fort Richmond Collegiate in 2012. She spent her childhood living in poverty, finding support through the charitable services of such organizations as Winnipeg Harvest, the Christmas Cheer Board and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Winnipeg.

“I was 12 or 13 and my bed just broke in half, so I was on the floor with an air mattress for about two months. We found out about Hands of Hope and got a bed through them,” Hart says.

“As soon as I got into junior high, I got involved with a philanthropy group and did a lot of volunteering. When I finished high school and started university, I got into Big Brothers Big Sisters of Winnipeg, and because I had a car, I started delivering for the Christmas Cheer Board.”

With a strong desire to help people, Hart entered the Nursing program at the University of Manitoba. However, an extended hospital stay put her on a different path. Read More →

College to host public forum on safety in the Exchange District

December 5, 2018

In partnership with the Exchange District BIZ, Red River College will host a public forum on Safety in the Exchange on Tue., Dec. 11, at 7:00 p.m. in the Roblin Centre (160 Princess St.)

Members of City Council, the Winnipeg Police Service, and the Exchange District community will join to discuss ideas, solutions and opportunities for enhancing safety in Winnipeg’s Exchange District. All are welcome and encouraged to participate.

Red River College continues to be proactive in maintaining a safe and secure environment for staff and students. Recently, the College enhanced its security services at the Exchange District Campus and implemented a mobile street patrol unit that runs every day from 4:00 p.m. to midnight.

The College has also added onsite security and Safe Walk services at the Language Training Centre (in the VIA Rail Station on Main Street) and has extended the hours of security coverage until 11:00 p.m. at the ACE Project Space on McDermot Ave. (In addition to the 24/7 coverage already provided at the Roblin Centre and Paterson GlobalFoods Institute.)

Staff and students are encouraged to access the Safe Walk program, and to download RRC’s Mobile Safety App, which provides quick access to RRC Security and Safe Walk, and sends important campus safety alerts directly to users’ smartphones. The app is available for iOS, Android and Blackberry devices and can be downloaded here.

RRC looks forward to working alongside community leaders to establish even more ways to ensure Winnipeg’s downtown remains a vibrant place to learn, live and work.

Learn more about RRC’s Safe Walk program, and Security Services at the College.

RRC to welcome Bear Clan Patrol founder for presentation on personal safety

November 21, 2018

James Favel, founder and executive director of Bear Clan Patrol Inc., will host a presentation on personal-safety best practices this Fri., Nov. 23, at Red River College’s Exchange District Campus.

The presentation will also explore the role and function of the Bear Clan Patrol, and how students and staff can get involved in their communities. It’ll be hosted by RRC’s Indigenous Education department, and will provide a safe, inclusive environment in which attendees can learn from Favel’s growing — and widely celebrated — volunteer-based organization.

The College is committed to the safety of all its staff and students; engaging community experts like Favel is just one of the ways RRC is working to enhance and maintain personal safety.

The initiative also falls under one of the College’s strategic goals: to strengthen partnerships with Indigenous communities and advance Indigenous achievement.

Operating out the Ndinawe Youth Resource Centre in the city’s North End, the Bear Clan Patrol is comprised of volunteers who work with the community to increase security in the inner city in a non-threatening, non-violent and supportive manner. The Patrol is a community-based solution to crime prevention, one that provides a sense of safety, solidarity and belonging to both its members and the communities they serve.

Favel’s presentation takes place at noon in Room P107 at the Roblin Centre.

Photo credit: Nardella Photography